Sometimes, even when you're on the losing end, you have to take a step back and marvel at the game that your team just played.
And then there's always the bright side, which for the Princeton men's lacrosse team after its wild game against North Carolina Saturday afternoon was simply this: If that's what it's going to take to beat these Tigers, then this year is going to be pretty good.
Chad Tutton scored with three seconds remaining to give the Tar Heels a 16-15 win over Princeton in front of 4,362 fans who watched a thrilling game in near-perfect March weather at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill.
The loss was Princeton's first in four games this season, while Carolina improved to 3-2 while playing its fourth straight one-goal game.
Princeton trailed 14-13 before Tom Schreiber scored consecutive goals less than a minute apart, the second with 1:41 to go in the fourth to put the Tigers on top 15-14. Tutton's game-winner came after Davey Emala had tied with 37 seconds to go.
STATS OF THE GAME
The game featured 31 goals and a combined 99 shots. The last time Princeton scored at least 15 goals and lost was in 1979, when it lost 16-15 to Rutgers. Princeton also is now 19-2 under Chris Bates when scoring at least 10 goals. It's only two losses? Both at Fetzer Field, 12-11 three years ago and now 16-15.
Both teams had three players with at least three goals. Princeton went 4 for 4 on extra man opportunities after going 2 for 10 in its first three games.
North Carolina now leads the all-time series 8-7. Of the 15 games, eight have been decided by one goal, including three of the four that Chris Bates has coached against the Heels.
TURNING POINT OF THE GAME
Princeton won the face-off after Schreiber's second goal but turned it over with just over a minute left. Carolina was able to clear it and have Emala tie it after Matt O'Connor saved a shot from Jimmy Bitter but had the loose ball find its way to Emala on the crease. UNC won the face-off and then scored the game-winner after calling timeout with 11 seconds left. Bitter got the ball to Tutton, who bounded a low shot just inside the pipe.
The second and fourth quarters both had a combined 10 goals. There were eight times in the game that one team scored two goals within one minute of each other, and seven times where they did it within 51 seconds. Want more? It happened six times within 37 seconds of each other and even four times within 12 seconds. And that doesn't even count the three times Princeton scored within a minute of a Carolina goal
PRINCETON PLAYER OF THE GAME
Mike MacDonald had a career-high five goals, and with two assists had a career-high seven points. Jeff Froccaro had four goals and won 6 of 12 face-offs. The player of the game, though, was Tom Schreiber, who had four goals and two assists, including the last two goals for the Tigers.
PLAY OF THE GAME
MacDonald's fourth goal of the game, which tied the game at 12-12 22 seconds after Carolina went up 12-11, was a one-handed sweeping shot with his right hand.
Princeton is home against Manhattan Tuesday at 7. The Tigers' first Ivy League game is at Penn next Saturday, at 3.